Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED)

Prepared for
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families
father with young son

Child support is a critical financial resource for children living apart from one of their parents. An effective child support system must enforce and enable noncustodial parents’ contributions and include policies to encourage their employment. The National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED) tested the effectiveness of programs that aim to increase employment among noncustodial parents, with the ultimate goal of increasing their likelihood of meeting their child support obligations.

Mathematica conducted a five-year evaluation of CSPED projects with our partner organization, the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin.

We evaluated programs that have received grants from the Office of Child Support Enforcement—in the Administration for Children and Families—to provide employment, parenting, and child-support–related services to noncustodial parents—mainly fathers, including some who are ex-offenders. Most of the grantee programs are for parents who have weak employment histories and substantial child support arrearages.

CSPED was a rigorous, randomized controlled trial with three primary study components: an implementation analysis; an impact analysis; and a benefit-cost analysis. An IRP brief summarizes the key findings of the impact and benefit-cost analyses.